Sunday, 7 December 2014

Looking Up at the Clouds...

I wanted to take a departure from the purely technical posts I usually do to discuss something that should be in the thoughts of everyone involved in Hyperion right now: the cloud.

It isn't just a buzzword any more - cloud is very real. Oracle is clearly pushing Hyperion EPM and OBIEE into the cloud, we can see that with their cloud Planning service, and we will soon see Financial Reporting coming to the cloud as well. will see HFM become a Java application. Do not be surprised if some sort of "FMCS" cloud offering created further along the line.

The important thing to remember is that Oracle's cloud offerings are Linux-only, and to be able to offer a full Hyperion and OBIEE suite on their cloud all the components must be Linux compatible. In real terms this means everything becoming WebLogic applications or (if that isn't possible) standalone Java applications. This is where things are heading. Products that don't conform to this have 2 options, depending on if they are "strategic": become a Java application or get replaced by the strategic tool for that job.

To give two examples: HFM had to become a Java application: there is nothing to replace it and it is the only Hyperion option for performing consolidations (outside of creating custom Essbase apps and processes to support them - or silly things like that). EPMA Data Sync, on the other hand, can be replaced by the strategic tool for EPM-to-EPM loads which will be FDMEE. FDMEE is getting a whole bunch of new features in that will make it absolutely the best tool to be using for this - such as native EPM-to-EPM loads, HPCM support and native DRM-to-FDMEE mapping integration (there is a more complete list here). So really once they have taken out the EPMA dependency from HPCM we may see EPMA fall by the wayside completely.

But let's be frank here: Oracle is not yet in a position to give a really complete cloud option with all the flexibility of an on-premises solution. That will change over time, though, and the decision on whether to go to the cloud or not will probably not be with us techies, it will be with the people holding the purse strings. So how much will these cloud offerings cost?

You have to contact Oracle for that information :) But remember for PBCS it is a subscription fee, of around "$120 per user per month with a 10 user minimum" but each application is on its own environment (more info here). The FPRCS service that will be launched soon will also have a "per-user, per-month" subscription model. So for small shops with basic needs they are probably a nice solution. As for the full Oracle Cloud offering I unfortunately don't have any estimates for pricing, as that includes support costs as well, but I wouldn't be surprised if you have to contact them for a quote that would then be given on a case-by-case basis. So the big customers may not be so quick to whip out their credit card and buy themselves a few slices of the clouds just yet...

But for now how can we, those in the trenches of Hyperion Infrastructure, be ready for what Oracle may have in store? Well the best advice to give is to really try to stay up to date on which products Oracle are considering to be strategic, and to always try to align with that wherever possible. You don't have to jump for the clouds just yet, if you keep your feet on the ground - but keep looking up - you should be fine.

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